Residents of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district are aghast at the lack of reading material and space at the district public library in Anantnag’s Wazir Bagh. The public library has been functional since 2001 and has a registered membership of more than 2,300 local residents.
Local residents allege that despite decades of being functional, there is “a dearth of space, unavailability of reading material, dysfunctional toilets, and unavailability of computers” in the public library causing inconvenience to students in the district.
“As many readers visit the library every day for reading or borrowing books, the two-storey building doesn’t have sufficient seating facilities… Noisy and rusty fans are creating disturbance in reading rooms,” said 19-year-old Fatimah Dar, a resident of Anantnag town who is preparing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). “Some of the students don’t get required materials to continue their studies.”
Shahid Rashid Bhat, a 24-year-old resident of the town’s Anzwallah area, who is preparing for the Service Selection Recruitment Board exams, said that “the administration should facilitate students with new reading rooms and multiplicity of modern books” besides upgrading the library infrastructure. “Due to unavailability of barcode technology it takes time to find any particular book, not even a single computer is present in the library,” he said.
Speaking with The Kashmir Walla, incharge Librarian at Anantnag library Ghulam Hassan Ganai admitted that “students are facing difficulties since the abrogation of Article 370, the library lost its sheen. Now in pandemic we have to maintain the SOPs in the reading rooms, It is very difficult to accommodate everyone.”
Ganai added that the Director of Libraries and Research, Mohammad Rafi, had been appraised of these issues last week and had assured resolving the same within a month’s time.